As anecdotal evidence from Yelp! or customer reviews can attest, it is usually the more extreme reactions to one’s products/services that motivate customers to comment. For better or for worse, social media amplifies the voice of those who are expressing their sincere appreciation for a product or seeking revenge for poor service with a blistering critique. The majority of customers expects satisfaction and won’t make the effort to remark on the commonplace. In fact, according to authors Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff of Groundswell, the majority of Americans can be described as “joiners” and “spectators” (see table 1 below). “Joiners” are those individuals who “visit and maintain a profile on a social networking site” while “spectators” are engaged with others’ content, (e.g. posts, podcasts, videos) but rarely contribute their own. While both “spectators” and “joiners” are active and receptive to the opinions of others, they are not demonstrably participative. The concern is that the opinions of this “silent majority” will be underrepresented while the active users with characteristically polarizing opinions will be overrepresented. This may in turn pervert the company’s marketing strategy in a direction that alienates the silent majority who are content with the current state of affairs.
- Margaret Kamraczewski, is a full-time Masters of Science candidate at Northwestern University's Integrated Marketing Communications program at Medill. Her previous experience was in market research. Her focus is on brand and advertising strategy. Follow her on Twitter @Margaret_Kam.